Sunday, 26 May 2013

Roman Run

I turned up at the famous cafe at the auction mart to find that it was closed. The sign now read 'Closed Sundays'.
Mike was already there.
We went to Dobbies for coffee, leaving a sign for any late-comers. In the end no-one else arrived so we struck off in a small convoy of two.
I had planned a route around some Roman sites in the area, these were part of the first frontier of the Roman Empire, now known as the Gask Frontier
Our first stop was Doune Primary School, which was built on top of the southernmost fort in the system.
This fort would have been the base for c500 Auxiliary soldiers, comprising a mixed infantry/cavalry cohort or an all-cavalry unit.
Click all images to enlarge
 We travelled on the B 824, passing the statue of Col Stirling, founder of SAS, before travelling through Dunblane to Kinbuck B8033. We crossed the route of the Roman road running NE before the first Cromlix entrance.

Through Braco to the next fort known as Ardoch. The Auxiliary unit here was from Spain.
Ardoch Fort - No Parking Here
The fort was reused several times over many decades, which explains the multiple ditches. It is the best-preserved turf site in Europe.
We stopped at Kaims Castle Fortlet, this sits in the garden of a private house but the convention is that people let themselves in. So we did.
Through Muthill (admiring the old church etc) towards Creiff before turning on to the B8062 for Kinkell Bridge.
We passed Innerpeffray chapel. This was almost certainly the site of a watch-tower for the Roman fort at Strageath, which is on the opposite side of the River Earn.

Turning left before Kinkell Bridge, up onto the Gask Ridge. We could see the Roman road off to the left, there’s a good watch-tower base just a few yards down the path.

On our journey we kept encountering vintage Bentleys and Rolls Royces. There was obviously a big event in progress.
Since there were only two cars in our Roman adventure, I took the chance to park and walk down a track to one of the watchtowers, most are harder to find than Muir o' Faulds, which sits in a clearing, passed by a straight track, all that remains of the Roman road.
Mike looking about at the watchtower:

The Roman road runs for several miles in a series of straight sections, here it is being used by two of the expensive vintage cars:
We passed other watchtowers and the Midgate fortlet before heading to Dunning for lunch, good quality.
Anita knew that we were coming and left her MGTF outside but I forgot to take a photograph. The journey back to Stirling was uneventful and sunny.

We are planning another  run for the last Sunday in June, get in touch if you'd like to come.
Oh, and we'll meet at Dobbies from now on.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Falkirk Wheel

I had agreed to arrange the all-Scotland event for 2013. It was held at the Falkirk Wheel. 
 Click to Enlarge all Photographs
When we were planning the day, mid-May promised good weather.
In the event it rained and was so cold that if I hadn't been involved in running the occasion, I would have stayed at home. Many others decided the same thing to the extent that the largest contingent was the Aberdeen MGOC who had started out much earlier in the early morning sunshine.
As in previous years, we called the event The Gathering o' the Clans but our numbers were such that Johnnie Cope wouldn't have had much trouble at Prestonpans. We ended up with 30 cars and fifty people.
Some late arrivals aren't featured here
I had coined the motto Nemo mg impune lacessit, based on the Scottish Royal Crest (Wha Daur Meddle wi' me) or more literally, No-one attacks mg with impunity. No-one else thought that this was clever or funny.

The plan was Gathering from 11.00am with Full Assembly by 12.00 noon. Lunch was available in the Café or other outlets - several visitors even had picnics in the hope of a sunny day.
There was an optional Boat Trip using the Wheel 14.10. Here's a video of the wheel in action:
My hand-out noted 'Please sign-up and pay for the 14.10 sailing under the blue umbrella. MGOC discounted price £6.50 or pay full-price (£8.95) at the desk'.

With the high wind, our blue patio umbrella blew away and was broken
Here it is flapping forlornly after being tied to a stand-pipe.
You can see that Morven has abandoned the chair and little table in favour of a clip-board.
Here she is with our crack security team (thanks to Paddy our son for volunteering)

I had completed a Risk Assessment which concluded that the biggest risk was theft of the ticket-money but I included 'Please take care when moving around cars and when walking near the canal' in the hand-out just to be safe.
At 13.30 we all met in the cafe for a special MGOC 40th Birthday celebration. I made a speech to welcome the visitors
and was shown how to cut the MGOC 40th birthday cake
After cheers and cake, twentyfive of us trooped outside for the boat-trip. Photos were taken:
And we boarded the Antonine. Archimedes was already in use.
We saw some of the members leaving as we ascended:
Coincidently, there was a sponsored abseil for a local charity and a young man who had arrived with a member volunteered. Some of us had an informal whip-round and boosted the charity's funds by £30.
The safety team organising the abseil were not the usual grizzled ex-marines:
The hardy few, mostly hard-tops or TFs, seen from the returning boat:

Our next club-run will feature Roman forts and roads. See you at the cafe on the 26th May.